I would not sail on the Veendam again. Too many issues with the ship. We had "dine as you wish" instead of a reserved time in the dining room and had to wait for seating. Very difficult to get timely reservations for dining room on "surf and turf" nights. Who wants to eat after 8pm? Food in buffet so-so. Entertainment so-so. Cabin I would rate poor due to multiple plumbing issues and being awakened early due to engine noise multiple times when docking. Mostly older people-- many with disabilities that needed lots of assistance from staff and that slowed everything down-- getting in and out of tenders, etc. Too much emphasis on buying overpriced goods on the ship and in every port. This was our second Holland American cruise-- would have to think long and hard before I would cruise with them again when there are so many cruise lines out there.
4 out of 5
It was okay. We had to wait on benches in a large room until our numbers were called. The wait was moderate-- maybe 35 minutes or so. Then it was a long walk to the ship.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Buffet food was fair. Good variety, but definitely not gourmet by any means. Fish fry was greasy, mushrooms gritty. Made to order salad bar and omelets were very good. Some very weird combinations for pre-made sandwiches at lunch time-- lettuce and butter on a roll, chicken salad which was a piece of chicken with lettuce and tomato (the salad part I guess), another called "spuckle". The soups were another strange assortment of odd varieties. The pizzas from the pizza place and burgers and dogs were very good however.Dining room food was good. Pinnacle was great but very pricey. Italian place was an upcharge to eat in a partitioned corner of the buffet-- we didn't try it.
3 out of 5
Pool area. Library. No fancy rock climbing walls or water parks on this ship. Very "bare bones". I never found the gym, although Im sure there must have been one.
3 out of 5
Performances were exactly what one would expect. Okay, but nothing outstanding. Music on the deck was obnoxiously loud at times and many people left the pool area because it was so loud.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
The staff was great. No complaints in this area.
3 out of 5
There are many outdated areas and some of the common areas are in need of repair-- i.e. chipped tiles near the hot tubs in the rear of the ship. We had water spraying from the tub faucet which was repaired. We had brown water a couple of times in the bathroom sink (per staff due to changing over of water tanks) which cleared after awhile. Another time we had only scalding water from the bathroom tap which was also repaired the next day.The entire cruise there were elevator issues-- as many as 3 elevators broken at one time-- leaving 5 elevators for 3000 guests and staff. Often a long wait for elevators and there were many elderly people in wheelchairs, on scooters, using walkers and canes so we used the stairs a lot.
Cabin / Stateroom
2 out of 5
Cabin was clean, but not fancy. Cabin was extremely noisy whenever ship docked and side "thrusters" were needed to dock. This usually occurred around 6 am and woke us from a sound sleep on multiple occasions. Our room was at the end of a very long hall and we walked a lot to get from the front of the ship for activities down to our cabin.
Take a power strip-- there is only one outlet that we saw, although there is also another in the overhead bathroom light for shavers.
It was okay. Not much to do if you did not book an excursion. Excursions were pricey. Picnic lunch provided by cruise ship was not great. macaroni in salad only half cooked, burgers pre-made and dressed. Ribs tough.
Did "Cigars, Rum, and Tobacco". Would have liked more than just sitting in an old disco getting a cigar each (as a souvenir), about a tablespoon on rum in a glass, and a demitasse size cup of very strong coffee while we listened to Cuban band. Maybe a tour of a cigar factory to see them made? There was a brief tour of the city square and about 1 hour to shop for souvenirs.
Did river rafting on the Martha Brae. Was great until guy steering the boat with a pole started trying to "hard sell" us carved gourd shells. Tour guide on bus (young lady) talked incessantly and very loudly (annoying). Then they took us to a VERY expensive shopping area.
5 out of 5
We waited until our tag was called and walked right off the ship. Luggage was waiting, waited about 1/2 hour in line, then zipped through customs to our ground transportation
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